Adapted from columns Dec. 25, 2004; Dec. 24, 2010; and Dec. 24, 2016
The mystery of Fort Worth’s Christmas song is solved.
It took help from readers in Palo Pinto County, plus one surprised family near Houston.
Since 1963, we’ve heard songwriter Willie Nelson’s sad ballad “Pretty Paper,” plucking heartstrings with a lyric about holiday shoppers rushing past a disabled street vendor selling “pretty paper, pretty ribbons” for pennies while crawling “all alone on a sidewalk” downtown.
Readers who shopped at the old Leonards Department Store downtown remember that vendor. So did Nelson, a Fort Worth country music radio personality, door-to-door vacuum salesman and Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher until he moved to Nashville in 1963.
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